N18bn Commission’s project almost abandoned by Julius Berger due to insufficient funds.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Adams Jagaba, has expressed concern over the poor funding of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, especially the construction of the Commission’s ten-storey Head Office building in Abuja.
Mr. Jagaba, who was accompanied by the other members of his committee to the EFCC on Wednesday, said the committee was at the commission to assess the 2013 budget performance, while preparing for the 2014 budget defence.
He added that the committee also wanted to know other challenges the commission was facing and how the solutions could be provided.
“I have come to see the level of work done at the head office building, your facilities, the challenges you are facing and how to resolve the challenges,” he said.
“We have every reason to make adjustment to the budget proposal from the Federal Government and not just to rubber stamp such proposal. Even if it means increasing your budget, the Committee has power to do that.”
The committee members visited the cells, exhibit room, interrogation room, forensic unit, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the head office building under construction where they expressed concern over the abandonment of the project by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
The EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, earlier told the visiting committee members that the only capital project currently under construction, which is the Head Office complex, was almost abandoned. The complex is situated along the Airport road and was awarded to Julius Berger in November 2010 at a total cost of N18.8 billion for a 36 months completion period.
Mr. Lamorde, who said that about N9 billion had been paid to the construction company, explained that only N3 billion was approved for the project out of the outstanding N12 billion as at January 2013.
“Going by the terms of the contract agreement, the handover of the Head Office Complex ought to be the next two months, but only 41 percentage of work has been done”, he said.
He also said that the Commission had paid about N402 million as extra costs due to exchange rate variation, which was as a result of not meeting up with the 36 months hand over period as contained in the terms of agreement.
According to Mr. Lamorde, the delay in the completion of the Head Office building was eating deep into the finances of the Commission, as so much was spent on renting buildings across the Nigerian capital.
“Our operations are spread all over the city. We have rented offices in seven locations in Abuja. This also means we must service generators in each of the locations which is the alternative power source”, he said.
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